Answer ... Private enforcement of the Competition Law is still in its infancy. The 2011 amendments to the Competition Law aimed to establish a better legal framework for private damages claims and the Romanian Competition Council has taken steps to increase awareness of this regime among consumers and aggrieved undertakings. However, little progress has been made, as the undertakings harmed by anti-competitive behaviour have been reluctant to file such claims. This may be partly explained by the lengthy duration and unpredictable outcomes of litigation in Romania, as well as by the shortcomings of the private enforcement rules. The rules were overhauled through Government Emergency Ordinance 37/2017, which transposed the provisions of the EU Private Damages Directive (2014/104). However, they are still seldom used.
The Bucharest Tribunal has exclusive competence to hear private damages claims. Its decisions may be appealed to the Bucharest Court of Appeals, whose decisions in turn may be appealed to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Answer ... Private claims may be brought only against undertakings or associations of undertakings.
Answer ... The Competition Law provides that consumer protection associations and trade or industry associations may submit private damages actions on behalf of consumers. Consumer protection associations must be legally registered, while trade associations must be mandated by their members to commence private enforcement proceedings.
Answer ... Any natural or legal person that has suffered damage as a result of an anti-competitive practice prohibited by the Competition Law may file a claim for damages. The claim may be filed by a person directly affected by the restrictive agreement or by a person indirectly affected by such agreement.
The five-year limitation period in which to file a private damages claim begins to run when the plaintiff knew or should have known of:
- the behaviour and the fact that it constitutes an infringement;
- the fact that the infringement of competition law has caused it harm; and
- the identity of the infringer.
The limitation period does not begin to run, or will be suspended, if the council takes actions for the purpose of its investigation or proceedings in respect of an infringement to which the action for damages relates.
Where infringement has been found by a final decision of the Romanian Competition Council or the European Commission, or a final decision of a review court, the infringement is deemed to have been irrefutably established for the purposes of a private damages claim before the Romanian courts. As regards decisions taken in other EU member states, such a final decision amounts to rebuttable evidence of infringement which may be assessed along with all other evidence submitted by the parties.
Answer ... Any natural or legal person that was harmed by a competition infringement may seek full compensation for that harm, to restore it to the position it would have been in had the infringement not occurred. Compensation must include actual loss and lost profits, plus accrued interest. Punitive damages are not available and the compensation awarded must not overcompensate the aggrieved party.
In estimating the harm, the courts must ensure that neither the burden nor the standard of proof required to quantify the harm makes the exercise of the right to damages practically impossible or excessively difficult. Like the directive, the national rules on private enforcement presume that cartel infringements cause harm, but the infringing undertaking has the right to rebut this presumption. Further, the council may, upon the request of the relevant court, assist the latter in determining the quantum of damages where it considers such assistance to be appropriate.
Answer ... The Bucharest Tribunal has exclusive competence to hear private damages claims. Its decisions may be appealed to the Bucharest Court of Appeals, whose decisions in turn may be appealed to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.